RuPaul surprised to learn late basketball legend Kobe Bryant was a hardcore Drag Race fan

·2-min read

Drag icon RuPaul has revealed that he was “surprised” when he found out the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his wife were big fans of his Emmy-winning series.

The Drag Race host appeared on a recent episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show with guest host Loni Love. Love asked RuPaul what person he believed would that fans “would not expect” or “least expect” to enjoy Drag Race.

RuPaul then described how he and his husband were “walking into a hotel in New York” when they encountered the NBA player and his wife, Vanessa.

“Kobe and his wife were in the lobby, and they said that they watched the show, and I was surprised by that,” RuPaul said. “That surprised me.”

Love also gushed about the adorable Drag Race fan encounter between RuPaul and the Bryants. She said it was “moments like that” which let people know “you’re doing something good”.

ET theorised the chance meeting between RuPaul and the NBA player could have happened in 2017 based on an Instagram post by Vanessa Bryant. The outlet pointed out how Vanessa mentioned in a post on Instagram that the Drag Race host “complimented me on my lipstick” and asked her what shade it was.

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Bryant, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons, is considered to be one of the best players in the history of the NBA. The basketball legend tragically died in a 2020 helicopter crash alongside his daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

Earlier in the Ellen Show interview, RuPaul admitted that he didn’t think Drag Race would be as “big” as it has grown to be. The franchise several successful, global spin-offs in the UK, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, Thailand and the upcoming Italian series.

But he told Love he always believed there would be “people who enjoy it the way I do” and enjoy the “celebration of drag“.

“I love people who don’t take life too seriously – too seriously – and who like to have fun,” RuPaul said. “And I like people who are courageous, and you know drag queens, throughout history, have always had to dance to the beat of their own drummer.”

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